Celtics

Report: NBA execs weigh in on Celtics’ plans for Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum

Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer added more context to assertions that the Celtics' slow start marked "the beginning of the end" for the Tatum-Brown pairing.

Jayson Tatum Jaylen Brown Celtics
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, right, drives to the basket past Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and guard. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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For all the doomsaying about their future together, the Jayson Tatum-Jaylen Brown pairing sure looked good on Monday night as the Celtics knocked off the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Tatum dropped a season-high 42 points to lead Boston to its commanding 117-103 win while Brown poured in 19 points, including 3-of-7 from three-point range, in his return from a hamstring injury.

The mere presence of both players on the floor, when they’re operating well, opens up opportunities for one another, Brown explained after Monday’s game.

“You can’t double us both,” the All-Star forward said. “So being out there, just being out there, I think takes pressure off of [Tatum]. Being able to play without seeing double teams and even at times triple teams. So if I’m out there and you’re doubling him, then I’m going to be aggressive. And if you double me, then he’s going to look to be aggressive.”

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That’s what things can look like when the two stars play well alongside one another, which the Celtics and their fans have seen during multiple deep playoff runs with the two stars at their core.

But if this year’s squad can’t re-capture some of that old magic, Bleacher Report NBA expert Jake Fischer reports a breakup might be in the offing.

Fischer elaborated Tuesday morning on previous comments made to Sirium XM’s NBA Radio with more details on how the league views the Tatum-Brown partnership and how available Boston might make Brown, its secondary All-Star.

According to Fischer, rival executives have reportedly been told Tatum and Brown are the “only two untouchables” on the Celtics and don’t believe Boston has strongly entertained the possibility of breaking them up yet.

But teams are apparently very interested in what it would take to make that happen, according to Fischer.

“While the Celtics appear committed to building around Brown and Tatum, speculation about Brown’s availability has notably increased around the league. It is an ongoing topic of conversation among sources familiar with both players. Moving Brown would appear highly unlikely until after this season and seems more plausible ahead of 2022-23. But as long as Boston floats on the periphery of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, league personnel will monitor Brown’s status and if the Celtics inch closer toward pivoting in a new direction.”

“I think they’re starting to get to a place where they don’t think he and Jayson Tatum can coexist,” said another assistant general manager.

“I think there’s pretty widespread belief that they don’t work together,” one general manager told B/R. “But unless ownership adds pressure on [Boston GM Brad Stevens], I don’t see them doing anything.”

The Bleacher Report insider also notes several teams think Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III might be the other two most valuable pieces the Celtics could make available via trade eventually if the team does blow up its current operation.

There’s also speculation that veteran guard Dennis Schroder, who has played well in Boston on a one-year deal, might also be a prime trade candidate whether the Celtics contend in 2021 or not.

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